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Quick lube outlets drop, but female-owned mobiles may buck trend

Jiffy Lube stays on top of the fast lube league but the industry sees an overall decline to 2012.

Under the banner of "Keep Calm and Carry On", National Oil and Lube News (NOLN) published its 2012 Tops in the Industry fast lubes rankings.  Despite posting a not inconsiderable $8.7bn in sales across the US, the fast lubes and oil change industry saw an overall decline in both sales and outlets and a rebalancing between pure lubes change and 'lubes-plus' outlets.

Jiffy Lube

Jiffy Lube top the NOLN table Image: The Consumerist

The sales numbers saw a drop of $300m in revenues, while the number of outlets fell by 711 to just over 16,000 in the US.  Staying ahead of the pack of pure fast lubes providers is Jiffy Lube, the Texas-based company with a little more than 1900 franchised outlets.

They dropped just one percent in size against a six percent fall to 823 outlets for their nearest rival - Valvoline Instant Oil Change.  Making up the top five were Penzoil 10-minute Oil Change, Kwik Kar and Havoline's xpress lube.  Of these, only Kwik Kar saw a marginal increase in size.

However chains defined as 'Oil Change-Plus' - lubes plus tyres, exhausts, brakes, etc - generally saw an upward trend.  Accepting that it is largely a signage programme for individual operators, Goodyear Tire and Service Network still saw a massive 22% growth - some 400 new outlets - to lift it to second place the Change-Plus table, although still some way behind Walmart's Tire and Lube Express which grew by 2% to 2,500 outlets.

There were also more new arrivals in the Change Plus list than the lubes-only table.  Although not featuring this year, one that is certain to catch the eye next year is Las Vegas based Mobix. Billed as the US' first 'woman-owned mobile car care service', the franchised outfit provides vans that can be booked to arrive at home or office and provide a full change-plus service including 'car detailing'.

According to distinctly male spokesperson and VP, Albert Marcello, Mobix is "ideal for Moms, busy professionals, college students, seniors, and small business owners with multiple vehicles.”

Outside the US, NOLN's league table showed the UK and Holland's Kwik-Fit some way ahead of the competition - Germany's Auto-Teile-Unger and Kwik-Fit-owned Speedy in France, Hungary and Turkey.

Tags: Lubes news, Lubricants, N America

Published 2nd April, 2012

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